Eoin Morgan was supposed to have a bad back. When Englands captain followed Jason Roy off the pitch, walking gingerly alongside the physio during Fridays match against West Indies in Southampton, it looked like the favourites could be about to receive a hammer blow to their Cricket World Cup chances. When the news was relayed that Morgan had suffered a back spasm the nightmare scenarios were laid to rest. But the fact he conducted his post-match press conference stood up indicated the discomfort he was in and the significance of his injury, described by the man himself as “an extremely bad back” which “creates a tremendous amount of pain”. Read more: Rashid Khan and worn pitch Afghanistans best chance against EnglandAfter three days of rest, physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers and plenty of speculation that hed not be risked, it was Morgan who made his way into the middle at Old Trafford today to conduct the toss with Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib. He was pleased that he did. “I didnt think at any stage it was going to be my day,” Morgan said after picking up his man of the match award at the close of play. He wasnt the only one. After his first six balls, in which he played out five dots and took a solitary single, commentators were understandably questioning whether the left-hander was fit enough to play. Over the course of his next 71 deliveries he proved definitively that he was.
In an eye-popping barrage he began a one-man quest to put the game well beyond the reaches of Afghanistan and write record after record. He had some help to get going – clubbing the first of his many sixes off a free hit following a no-ball – but, perhaps emboldened by his back problem, Morgan showed absolutely no mercy, propelling himself off the solid platform built by Jonny Bairstows 90 and Joe Roots 88 to give England their highest ever World Cup score of 397-6.
Cricket is a game well-suited to numbers and Morgan gave Afghanistan a torrid time while providing the statisticians an enjoyable challenge. He made a mockery of the fact that since 2015 Old Trafford is the English ground with the lowest first-innings average score in one-day internationals, hammering an ODI record 17 sixes in his innings of 148 from 77 balls. On the way he recorded the fourth-fastest World Cup century while contributing greatly to ensuring the oppositions main threat, Rashid Khan, ended with figures of 0-110 from nine overs – the most expensive spell ever at a World Cup. Earlier in his career Morgans one-day run-scoring prowess came from his extraordinary power, but also his ingenuity. In Manchester it was simple, brutal and consistent ball-striking. Everything he connected with disappeared over the ropes: Rashids darting leg-spin, Gubadins medium pace, Mohammad Nabis off-breaks, Mujeeb Ur Rahmans bag of tricks and Dawlat Zadrans skiddy seamers – their bad balls and long hops, but also deliveries just inches off the mark. Wide long-off all the way round to backward square-leg was peppered. Morgan scored so fast it was hard to make sense of it all. It was best not to and instead merely appreciate a sportsman Read More – Source